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Adults 5

English Learning Strategies

I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand. ~

Chinese Proverb

First, lets talk about LEARNING ENGLISH

What (or who) motivates you to learn English? How long have you been learning English? How long will you keep learning?

What do you find difficult when learning English?

According to you, which is the most important: grammar or vocabulary?

Is it more important to speak fluently (= without pauses or thinking) or accurately (= without making mistakes)? Why?

Why is SPEAKING difficult in a new language? (What about your situation?)

How do you deal with those difficulties/ problems? (STRATEGIES)

Speaking Strategies

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What is a strategy? When do you apply a strategy?

English Learning Strategies

Below are some SPEAKING STRATEGIES. Tick the ones you usually resort to and highlight the ones that you think might be useful to improve your speaking performance.
I plan what to say in English in advance. I talk to myself in English before I talk to others. I practice speaking English with other students. I try to find phrases/ expressions native English speakers use. I record my speaking in English and listen to it later analysing my strengths and weaknesses as well. While speaking, I breathe deeply if I become nervous. I try to speak English slowly and clearly I get anxious. DELAY SPEAKING: While speaking, I slow down to find words to say if I forget what to say in English. USING MIME OR GESTURE: When I cant think of a word during a conversation, I use gestures. COINING WORDS: I make up new words if I dont know the right one in English, for example by resorting to typical English suffixes/ endings such as tion, -ship, ness, etc. PARAPHRASING/ CIRCUMLOCUTION/ SYNONYM: If I cant think of an English word, I say a word or phrase that means the same thing or I explain using my own words. (Paraphrasing). USING FILLERS/ HESITATION DEVICES: I use fillers (like- well- you know) to help myself speak. I try to sound like native English speakers by imitating their pronunciation. CODE - SWITCHING: In order to keep the conversation going, I use a word/ expression from my own language (mother tongue) without translating it. MONITORING/ SELF-CORRECTION: I monitor myself when speaking to try to solve difficulties (vocabularypronunciation- grammar) as they arise. GETTING HELP: I usually ask for clarification, repetition or directly demand the missing expression when I have problems expressing myself in a certain situation. REFORMULATING: Sometimes I repeat my comment when there is a misunderstanding on the part of the listener. I dont worry too much about my mistakes; I try to be fluent.



Adults 5

English Learning Strategies

Some Relevant Notes

Strategies to solve problems in real-life conversation

a) Using FILLERS/ HESITATION DEVICES Why using fillers? Fillers are sounds or words spoken to fill up gaps during a conversation. They allow you to save time to prepare your message looking for the appropriate words and ideas in your mind-, before actually uttering it.

Some typical English fillers are: Well, I think that the ticket is quite expensive. Is there any special offer? MmmId like a cheese sandwich, please. Excuse me, can you tell me er how to get to the post office, please? I need a red T-shirt, umsize 12, please. Im tired. Y know (you know), Id like to change my job. My suitcase hasa mirror, some trousers, shirtslikea laptop

b) Asking for REPETITION/ CLARIFICATION/ HELP Im sorry, Can you repeat that? Could you say that again? Im afraid I dont understand. Can you speak slowly? Sorry, would you mind speaking a bit slower? How do you say perro in English? Whats the meaning of dog?

c) REFORMULATING what you said (when the listener has not understood) Sorry, let me explain it more clearly/ in another way/ better. What I really mean is () In other words, () No, dont misunderstand me. / No, dont get me wrong. What I mean is ()

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English Learning Strategies

Lets get down to some practice.. o practice...

1) a. You are going to watch a video about two students sitting for a Cambridge oral exam. Complete these details about the task.

Task Details Interaction Type: Topic: Objective: Any special requirements: pecial

b. Put yourself in the place of the examiner and list some of the strategies you think they have use to complete the activity successfully. used

c. What strategies would you apply to solve that activity? Share your ideas with your partners.

2) a. Now its your turn to practice. Lets see how you can deal Lets with these social situations considering that you may lack some necessary vocabulary. First, in pairs, analyse the speaking strategies you can resort to. Then, roleplay the conversation.

You are lost somewhere in New York. You dont want to take a taxi because you dont have an address. You want to get to an important fashion company for a job interview. Find help in the street.

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English Learning Strategies


Your bag has been stolen in a huge shopping mall in New York. You look for help and go to report it to the police. Describe the bag in detail.


You are in New York and you feel bad in general (mareos, dolor en todo el cuerpo, zumbidos en los odos, presin baja, etc.). Go to see the doctor and explain the situation.


The doctor prescribed some medicine (una inyeccin y unas pldoras). Go to the chemists and buy it.


You are working temporarily in the States. Your computer has broken. Take it to a technician. Explain him the problem in detail so s/he can repair it.